A partnership between the governments of Canada and Alberta will help beekeepers hit hard by extreme cold and varroa mites.
Alberta is Canada’s biggest honey-producing province and relies on bees as essential pollinators and as a steadily growing sector of the agriculture industry. Over the 2021-22 winter, Alberta’s beekeepers experienced high losses due to extreme cold weather and varroa mite infestations. Some reported losses were as high as 50 per cent.
The Canada-Alberta Bee Colony Replacement Assistance Initiative, an AgriRecovery program delivered by Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), will compensate eligible commercial beekeepers that purchased replacement colonies, bee packages or queens between Jan. 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023.
“Beekeepers and healthy bee populations play a vital role in the sustainable production of many high-value agricultural crops. With support to help overcome this unique sector challenge and recover unexpected colony losses, beekeepers will be better equipped for future growing seasons.”
Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
“Bees are key to Alberta’s agriculture industry. Crop producers rely on them as pollinators, and they produce millions of pounds of honey every year. This program will help our beekeepers mitigate some of their costs after a tough couple winters and continue to produce the honey in demand across the world.”
RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation
AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework to help agricultural producers with the costs associated with recovering from disaster situations. Eligible costs will be supported on the 60/40 federal-provincial cost-shared basis outlined under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
“The Alberta Beekeepers Commission is grateful for the effort and support of Agriculture and Irrigation and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in advocating on the commission’s behalf following one of the most devasting overwintering losses in 2021-22. AgriRecovery will help our eligible producers to recover, building back to a viable and thriving beekeeping industry.”
Connie Phillips, executive director, Alberta Beekeepers Commission
“We are proud to support Alberta’s beekeepers through this AgriRecovery initiative. We understand the impacts the extreme cold weather and varroa mites had on our beekeepers, and AFSC continues to do everything we can to ensure they receive the help they need.”
Darryl Kay, chief executive officer, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
Registered commercial beekeepers with 100 or more colonies under Alberta’s Bee Act may be eligible for compensation to mitigate extraordinary costs associated with purchased colony, bee packages or queens between Jan. 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023.
Completed application forms and all supporting documents are due by July 31. An AFSC identification number is required. Applicants may submit their applications through AFSC Connect online, in person at a branch office or by fax.
- Winter losses in 2022 were 49.9 per cent, well above Alberta’s average winter losses of about 27 per cent.
- Alberta produces more honey than any other province, accounting for nearly 41 per cent of Canada’s 2022 total.
- Last year, Alberta beekeepers produced more than 30 million pounds of honey, down nearly 11 per cent from 2021.
- In 2022, Alberta international exports of honey totalled $18 million, up 49.3 per cent from 2021.
- Japan was the leading market for provincial honey exports, with 68 per cent of the total ($12.2 million), followed by the United States, with 27 per cent ($4.9 million).